My Runaway Mom–and Her Surprise Replacement


(This is the continuation of yesterday’s My Runaway Mom.)

But then guess who did show up back in our house the morning after my mom didn’t? Our dad! After two years away, our six-foot-four, physical phenom dad just … turned the front door key, walked on in, and was home again.

About the first thing he saw upon his Big Entrance was my sister and I more or less huddled together on the couch, scarfing Oreos and shivering from fear.

After prying us off him, he said, “Kids, I need to talk to you.”

We were definitely all ears. What with us figuring our mom was dead and all.

“Now Nancy, John,” he said, “What I have to tell you isn’t … very easy to say. Your mother has, it seems, um … taken a little vacation. She’s not going to be living here anymore. I’m not sure exactly where she is going to be living—in fact, I’m not sure where she’s gone to at all, or what’s happened to her. I’m sure she’s fine, though. The main thing for you to know is that I’m back now, and that I’m going to be taking care of you from now on, or until we can figure out what’s going on with your mother. For now, everything’s going to continue exactly as it was before—except for without your mother. Now come on—you kids need to get to school.”

Yeah. Because what we really needed right then were lessons in geography.

What made the whole event particularly … different, is that when our dad came back to live with us, he brought with him someone else to live with us, too. It turned out he’d gotten (surprise!) married, to a fairly tall, square-shouldered, bombshell-figured, ramrod-backed, blue-eyed woman of Swedish extraction wearing form-fitting Capri jeans, a crisp white sleeveless blouse, and a blonde wig coiffed into something that managed to say at once, “I’m a healthy, fun person upon whom you can absolutely depend,” and “Are you sure you don’t have any Jews hiding in your basement?”

Maybe five minutes after introducing his new wife to us, my dad requested that my sister and I start referring to her as “Mom.”

I looked for guidance to my sister. If she could call this new woman “Mom,” then I could, too. But I saw that just then Nancy had lapsed into “Brain Overload: Can’t Talk” mode. So–what the heck—I jumped in.

“Sure,” I said. “No problem. Mom.”

I tried to smile when I said it. I have no idea what expression actually appeared on my face.

[The follow-up to this post is “My New Mom, Choppers.”]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Latoya

    good Lord. wondering if i could have survived something like this

  • Liz

    John, as I love a happy ending I am hoping that Part 3 will be about the love you received from fairly tall, square-shouldered, bombshell-figured, ramrod-backed, blue-eyed, blonde wig-form fitting Capri jeans-sunny sleeveless blouse wearing "mom". But all the same I dare say this story had a happy ending because look at you. Blessings.

  • John Shore

    Liz: I'm afraid you'll be disappointed in part 3. But thanks for very kind statement at the end there. That's terribly sweet of you.

  • Joanie Cole

    John, dog-gone-it you better finish. God has clearly used your story to mold you into a man who can reach others with wit, humor, and what ever else you use. We need to know what happened after your Dad brought home a real live Barbie doll.

  • John Shore

    Joanie: Wow. Thank you! Very much! I will put up the next part tomorrow. Barbie doll. Man, wouldn’t that have been … way, way better.

  • ric booth

    Yeah. Because what we really needed right then were lessons in geography.

    I remember snorting with laughter when I first read this in your book!

    I hate it when I hear people say, "Well, the kids will be fine. You know kids, they are resilient!"

    I figure the writers for that show Dexter must all come from abused and battered homes.

  • John Shore

    Thanks, Ric: I did, actually, always like that line. So it's sweet of you to say that. And I'm dead with you on the "kids are resilient" thing. I heard someone in a restaurant say that not two days ago. I almost brained him with a coffee cup.

  • Redlefty (Michael)

    This is why I've put your books on my birthday wish list. My birthday's in August.

  • John Shore

    Michael: "Penguins" is a great book: buy that one. "I'm OK" has REALLY great ideas–but, alas, perhaps not the ideal style for most effectively communicating those ideas: it's a very loose, very conversational, very ha-ha style (except when all of a sudden it's deadly serious). Not for everyone—though I'm very pleased to say a lot of people loved the style of that book. I wouldn't write it again like that, though. See, I had just come out of magazine writing, and I … oh, never mind. Anyway—thanks, friend.

  • Lisa

    Everybody's faking it to one degree or another. My dad, a great man, died when I was 12 which left me in the hands of my mother who, while she wasn't abusive, was much more interested in her social life than raising a teenager. I survived and have the therapy bills to prove it. Neither of them actually walked out on me, though. Making it into adulthood as a productive member of society and NOT as a drug dealer or serial killer when your parents fail you as greatly as yours failed you is something you shouldn't minimize. It speaks volumes about you and about God's work in your life.

  • John Shore

    Lisa: You're right! I'm not a drug dealer or a serial killer. I ROCK! Thanks for pointing that out to me. Seriously: thanks for your kind words.

  • Greta Sheppard

    Bring on episode three!

    I'm intrigued . . . !

  • John Shore

    Greta: I'll DO it, man! I'll post the third part!

  • Lisa

    John, I’m amazed you survived to adulthood with your sanity intact at all! And I’m willing to be your story gets “better” from here.

  • Lucy

    I hope part 3 has a happy ending…..but like the saying goes……what doesn't kill us….makes us stronger. You certainly have proven that…and an amazing sense of humor to boot! Hugs & Blessings…Jesus loves you John!

  • John Shore

    Lucy: Thank you! How very kind of you.

  • John Shore

    Lisa: “At all” being the key caveat (sp??) there. The important thing is, I’ve learned to fake it. No, but thanks very much for the kind thought.

    Latoya: It wasn’t that bad. It crippled me emotionally for life, but besides that, it was nothing. No, but seriously: of course you could have. People, as you know, are strong.

  • casey

    Sadly John, you are a better person than me. I still haven’t accepted my dad’s girlfriend. And him and I dont have much of a relationship because of it. But I suppose that’s the downside of raising children as stubborn as yourself. lol

  • John Shore

    Casey: I'm no one better than you. I never accept anyone I don't like. What's the point? That's not being stubborn. That's just … keeping your life clean.

  • Jeannie

    Loving it. Please do continue with part 3.

    My story isn’t identical to yours. But yours sure does resonate with me. Glad you survived to adulthood. Life really is a journey.

  • John Shore

    Jeannie: Yes, it is a journey. Unfortunately, mine is a journey to Wally World. So I’m not sure what to do about that ….

  • Melinda

    Your story has me mesmerized. I vote for part 3!

  • John Shore

    "Mesmerized." See, now that's a word a writer likes to hear about his own stuff. Thanks! (You are getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy. You are very, very sleepy—yet you're just awake enough to write John Shore a check. Go, now, and find your checkbook…)

  • Diane L. Harris

    You’re one of the few people who can make even a nightmare sound funny. I look forward to part 3, whether the happy ending is there or not.

  • John Shore

    Ahhhh …. that’s so sweet. WHY ARE ALL YOU GUYS SO SWEET??!!

    Group hug.

  • Prince Hanniel

    John you are absolutely too funny.. its amazing you still have you sanity , humanity and humor still intact.

    I am suing you if I do not see the third part of this!!